I have recently tried dbForge Schema Compare for SQL Server .   As the name says, obviously, this tool is used to compare db schemas.  Although this is now built into Visual Studio, the fact is that specialized tools are still often much better.    Out of the multiple products I used, I found this product to be the best bang for the buck.  And they have some promotional discounts you can apply such as upgrading from a competing product, etc.

This application is quite nice.  First of all, it is very competitively priced so if you are on a tight budget you will love the amount of features you get for the price.  For $150 this comes up to half the price of some of the other competing products.

You can compare scripts, databases, or db snapshots.

It allows you to filter by schema (for example only dbo.*) and to map by schema (ie from source to destination).

Then it allows you to pick what type of changes are important to you.  For example

  • ignore case
  • ignore comments
  • ignore QUOTED IDENTIFIER adn ANSI_NULLS
  • ignore white space
  • ignore WITH option order
  • ignore signatures

dbforge2

The next step allows you to filter by Object type.  It even groups object type by SQL Server Instance (i.e. Tables,Views, etc. for SQL SERVER 2000+,  Partition Functions, Assemblies, etc for 2005+ and so on) – screenshot below only shows upto 2005, but 2008 objects are supported as well.
dbforge3

Here is the list:

  • Application Role
  • Assembly
  • Asymmetric Key
  • Broker Priority
  • Certificate
  • Contract
  • DDL Trigger
  • Default
  • Event Notification
  • Full Text Catalog
  • Full Text Stoplist
  • Function
  • Message Type
  • Partition Function
  • Partition Scheme
  • Procedure
  • Queue
  • Remote Service Binding
  • Role
  • Route
  • Rule
  • Schema
  • Search Property List
  • Sequence
  • Service
  • Symmetric Key
  • Synonym
  • Table
  • User
  • User Defined Type
  • View
  • XML Schema Collection

The next step will run the compare, and show you the DIFFERENT, and the EQUAL changes and let you choose what you like.

The final step you can execute or save the script for later.  It will include options for backing up your database first.  It also allows you to put the entire thing in a transaction to make sure no partial changes go through.

The summary page is also really nice.

Price?
Standard edition is $149.95

Pro edition is $229.95

Trial is available for 30 days.

If you want a more rudimentary quick and dirty free tool, check out SQL Admin Studio

The complementary tool is dbForge Data Compare for SQL Server, which I will review in another post.